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Prospective Students

Prospective Students

Need-based financial aid is awarded to students who demonstrate that their family financial resources are not sufficient to meet the full annual cost of attending Grinnell. Awards usually consist of packages, which may include grants and scholarships from the College or from the federal or state government, loans and financing, and student employment.

The process for applying for financial aid varies depending upon your citizenship and whether you are a spring transfer student.

Grinnell College practices need-blind admission for U.S. applicants, admitting academically qualified students regardless of financial need. Applicants are encouraged to submit the CSS Profile, FAFSA, and parent tax returns by the applicable deadlines to maximize their eligibility for federal, state, and institutional financial aid. We meet 100% of the demonstrated institutional need of admitted students.

Attention: The steps below are required to apply for Grinnell College funded financial aid. If you wish to apply only for federally funded financial aid, such as the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Work-study, and the Federal Direct Student Loan, only the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is needed.

Admission Round

Early Decision I

Early Decision II

Regular Decision

2019 Fall Transfer


November 15

January 1

January 15

April 1

By the appropriate deadline listed above, complete the following steps to apply for need-based aid:

Step 1

Common Application


Indicate your intent to apply for need-based financial aid.

Step 2

2020-21 CSS Profile


Beginning October 1, 2019, you and your parents (step-parent, if applicable) complete the CSS Profile online to apply for institutional grants. Grinnell College’s code is 6252. A fee is associated with filing of the CSS profile, however, it is automatically waived for many low-income students.

Step 2a

2020-21 CSS Profile for your noncustodial parent’s household, if applicable

  • If your biological/adoptive parents are not married (or are separated) and are living in separate households, your noncustodial parent must create a personal College Board student account to log in and complete a separate CSS Profile online. If your noncustodial parent is remarried, your step-parent’s information should be included.
  • To maintain confidentiality, you and your custodial parent should not share your College Board account password with your noncustodial parent.
  • If you have no contact with your noncustodial parent, you may complete a request to waive this requirement.
Step 3 IDOC Submission of Parents’ 2018 federal tax return (signed) and W-2 forms
  Upon completion of the CSS profile, you will be directed to use the College Board IDOC service to submit a signed copy of your custodial parents’ 2018 federal tax return, including schedules and W-2 forms, online to IDOC, the College Board’s secure financial document submission portal. Instructions will be provided on the College Board website immediately after you submit the CSS profile. Grinnell requires all students who wish to be considered for institutional grants to provide parent tax returns for verification of profile data.

Step 4

Federal Student Aid ID

  Create FSA IDs for you and at least one (custodial) parent. These separate usernames and passwords will be used to complete and sign the FAFSA.

Step 5

2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

  Beginning October 1, 2019, complete the 2020-21 FAFSA to determine your eligibility for all federal and state financial aid, such as the Federal Pell Grant, Direct Stafford Loans, and Iowa Tuition Grant. Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (if eligible) to transfer 2018 tax return data to the FAFSA. Do not make changes to the transferred data. Grinnell’s school code is 001868.

What’s next?

Admitted students who have met their application round deadline will receive a notice of financial aid eligibility with the admission decision.

Grinnell College offers a full range of financial aid opportunities to international students and we are committed to providing affordable education to students from around the world. Admission to Grinnell is highly selective, and the competition for financial aid is more competitive as the applicant’s demonstrated financial need increases. Students who demonstrate academic excellence and who maintain active co-curricular involvement are especially attractive to our admission committee, regardless of financial need.

Need-Based Aid

I Do Not Plan To Apply for Need-Based Financial Aid

Indicate on the Common Application that you do not intend to apply for need-based financial aid, and upload a completed Certification of Finances form to your Grinnell application portal. You should attach a bank statement showing funds to cover the first year cost of attendance if your bank official is unwilling to sign the Certification of Finances.

Note: Your Grinnell application portal is created after you submit the Common Application. For your personal security, we ask that you do not send any forms via email attachment.

Grinnell will not consider applications for financial aid from international students after they are admitted to the college. As part of the application for admission, all applicants needing financial assistance are required to accurately and thoroughly complete the process outlined below.

I Plan To Apply for Need-Based Financial Aid

International Applicants applying for need-based financial aid must complete the CSS Profile beginning October 1, 2019.

Note: Grinnell does not provide fee waivers for the CSS profile.

Financial Aid Deadline Application Round

November 15

Early Decision I

January 1

Early Decision II

January 15

Regular Decision

Should you not be able to complete the CSS PROFILE, the International Student Financial Aid Application (ISFAA) may be submitted. Upload the completed form to your Grinnell application portal, which is created after you submit your Common Application. Do not send any forms via email attachment.

What’s next?

Admitted students who have met the deadline will receive a notice of financial aid and/or scholarship eligibility with the admission decision.

Tips on Applying for Financial Aid

  • Apply even if you are not sure if you will qualify for aid! Many variables are considered when determining eligibility for need-based aid, not just family income.
  • Get organized! Make a checklist, table, or spreadsheet with the financial aid application requirements for each school where you are planning to apply. Include college deadlines and state aid deadlines, if applicable. It is important to apply on time!
  • Give yourself time to complete the application.
  • Gather all necessary documents/data before you sit down to work on the application. These include, federal tax returns, W-2 forms, and statements with asset values and the associated debt.
  • Make sure all names and social security numbers match social security cards. Do not use nicknames or abbreviations.
  • Check your work! Typos, like adding an extra zero to student earnings or transposing numbers, can have a huge effect on your eligibility.
  • Keep in mind that help is available. The Office of Financial Aid is here to assist you. You may call 641-269-3250 or email us.

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