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Award Terms and Conditions

The following policies outline terms regarding the acceptance of financial aid from Grinnell College, the U.S. Department of Education, and other sources.

Review Grinnell’s consumer information website for additional topics such as rights and responsibilities of students, graduation rates, the annual security report, and other useful information. Contact the Office of Financial Aid to request a paper copy of the annual security report or athletic report.

Federal and State Aid Policies


Grinnell College Aid Policies

Federal and State Aid Policies

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) - effective January 1, 2016

Students must meet satisfactory academic progress (SAP) criteria to maintain eligibility for federal, state and certain other financial aid programs. Grinnell College standards of SAP measure a student’s academic performance both qualitatively and quantitatively by reviewing the following three areas of performance: completion rate for coursework enrolled, cumulative grade point average earned, and the maximum time frame to complete a degree. The Office of Financial Aid is responsible for ensuring that you are meeting these minimum standards. Click on Grinnell College Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for complete details.

Failure to Achieve Any Passing Grades in a Single Semester

At the conclusion of each semester any students who received all F’s will be evaluated to determine if there was an unofficial withdrawal during the semester. Professors are asked to indicate whether the F was earned or due to a student’s failure to attend (quit attending). If at least one F was earned, the student is considered to have completed the semester. If all F’s are for failure to attend (quit attending), the student will be considered an unofficial withdrawal. If the professors had indicated a last date of attendance when the F grade was reported, the college will use that as the date of withdrawal. If the college cannot document a last day of attendance, the 50% point of the semester will be used as the last date of attendance. Depending on the last date of attendance, federal funds may need to be returned to the Department of Education based on a prescribed federal refund calculation.

Summary of Impacts of Illegal Drugs on Financial Aid Eligibility

Students with federal or state convictions involving the possession or sale of illegal drugs that occur while the student is receiving financial aid will lose eligibility for federal financial aid. The loss of financial aid will include grants, student loans, and work-study. Visit the Financial Aid Policies section of the Student Handbook for the complete policy including duration of ineligibility and methods for regaining financial aid eligibility. For additional information on the impact on financial aid of convictions for illegal drugs, contact the Office of Financial Aid.

Federal Direct Student Loans

Students borrowing Federal Loans must complete Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note (MPN) at StudentAid.gov. To maintain eligibility recipients must be enrolled at least half time, be making satisfactory academic progress, and meet all regulations that are required to receive loan proceeds.

Iowa Tuition Grant Recipients

In the event that available state funds are insufficient to pay the full amount of each approved grant, the Iowa College Student Aid Commission has the authority to administratively reduce the award. If your Iowa Tuition Grant is reduced, Grinnell will provide institutional gift aid to make up for the shortfall.

NCAA Division III Rules Regarding Outside Scholarships Bylaw

Outside scholarships may consider high school athletic participation, but they are subject to the below restrictions. Student athletes must not accept awards that do not comply with these rules. Note: awarding agencies may be asked to certify compliance.

  • Awarded only to students initially enrolling in college. Cannot be awarded to continuing students.
  • Renewal criteria must not be based on athletics.
  • Awards must be available for use at any institution.
  • Award donors may not have a direct connection to Grinnell College.
  • Award programs must be established, continuing, and not created for a one-time award.

Grinnell College Aid Policies

Crediting Aid to Your Student Account

Students who have completed all required financial aid paperwork will have their aid credited to their student account. Grants, scholarships, and student loans are applied as follows: 50 percent fall term and 50 percent spring term. Students who incur uneven charges (such as those participating in off-campus study) will have disbursements adjusted that reflect the differing cost of each semester. Student Accounts bills for the fall semester in late June and for the spring semester in late November. Visit the Student Accounts web page for more information or visit our FAQ page for detailed answers related to financial aid appearing on your bill.

Electronic Communications

The Office of Financial Aid generally communicates electronically with students, beginning as early as the point of application. It is the student’s responsibility to monitor email, both personal and grinnell.edu accounts and respond, if necessary, in a timely manner. If you wish to receive paper communications, you must notify us in writing.

Grinnell College uses an online system to allow students to view award letters and required documents. Admitted applicants and current students access this information via the online financial aid office in the student portal of GrinnellShare. Login credentials are provided at the time of admission in your online admission letter.

Federal Verification

The U.S. Department of Education or Grinnell College may select your FAFSA for a process called verification. You will be notified of the requirements should your FAFSA be selected, and the documents will show as needed in the online financial aid office. You may also view general requirements on our Federal Verification web page.

If selected, verification must be completed before any funds (federal, state, institutional) will be disbursed to your student account. Delays beyond the start of classes may result in interest charges on unpaid balances, even if pending aid will cover the balance.

Finalizing Estimated Awards (First-Year Students)

Estimated awards are calculated using the CSS Profile. Upon deposit, if you have an estimated award, Grinnell will request and review the final 2019 parent federal tax return, including W-2s, and the 2021–22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to finalize estimated packages. Estimated grant award totals typically do not change, provided actual income is similar to your family’s initial estimates.

Full-Time Enrollment

Unless otherwise noted, financial aid packages are based on full-time enrollment. Students enrolling in fewer than 12 credits per semester may have federal and state financial aid adjusted according to relevant federal and state regulations. Because students are charged tuition and fees based on full-time enrollment, Grinnell’s institutional aid is not adjusted. Students considering a less-than-full-time load should consider the effects of their registration patterns in regards to on-time graduation. Grinnell offers no more than eight semesters of institutional aid (prorated for transfer students).

Independent Status

In most cases, a student must be 24 years old to apply for financial aid as an independent student. Students considering filing for aid as independent students are encouraged to contact the Grinnell Office of Financial Aid before completing their applications. Students entering Grinnell as dependent students will remain so for institutional financial aid purposes regardless of age or marital status.

Merit (Non-Need Based) Scholarships

Non-need-based scholarships are awarded based upon academic and extra-curricular achievement (excluding athletics). These awards are available for eight full-time semesters. Recipients of merit-based awards must maintain at least a 2.75 GPA to remain eligible for the award. Recipients failing to meet this requirement may lose their scholarship until the GPA requirement is met. GPA evaluations occur after the posting of spring semester grades.

Off-Campus Study

Students may receive their financial aid for one Grinnell-approved off-campus study program. Tuition remission/exchange benefits apply only to Grinnell’s program in London. Details regarding financial aid policies can be found on our Off-Campus Study web page.

Outside Scholarships and Awards

According to federal regulations, students must notify the Office of Financial Aid of any outside scholarships and awards they receive. If the student is the recipient of need-based financial aid, the outside assistance, including veteran and vocational rehabilitation benefits, will generally be used to reduce the self-help portion of the aid package. However, grant funds may be adjusted if the total amount of the financial aid award and the outside scholarship(s) exceed demonstrated need. In no instance can financial aid from all sources exceed the total cost of attendance.

Reconsideration Requests

If your family’s financial circumstances have changed significantly since you applied for financial aid, or if your family has circumstances that were not presented in the original aid application, you may request a reconsideration of your aid. Adjustments may be approved during the school year or may not take effect until the following school year. Examples of special circumstances include:

  • Unemployment or pay reductions.
  • Unusually high out-of-pocket medical expenses not paid through a pretax account.

Requests for reconsideration must be made in writing or by email to the Office of Financial Aid.

Renewal of Aid and Grinnell’s Four-year Commitment

While Grinnell is committed to providing a consistent aid package for up to eight semesters, need-based aid for U.S. students is renewed on a yearly basis and is not automatic. Students will receive instructions during fall semester detailing the renewal process. The deadline for returning students is typically March 31.

If comparable need is demonstrated from year to year, Grinnell will renew institutional gift aid. Changes to the expected family contribution are considered when families experience a significant change in financial circumstances. Examples of this include changes to the number of dependents in college, sizable changes to income (more than inflationary), and unusually high out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Required Application for Federal and State Financial Aid

It is the student’s responsibility to apply for federal and state financial aid, which includes providing the Office of Financial Aid with requested documentation to obtain these funds. Grinnell will not replace federal or state aid that is lost because of failure to apply by the deadline.

Verification of Sibling Enrollment

When need-based financial aid is awarded on the basis of the student’s sibling(s) being enrolled in college, Grinnell College reserves the right to request documentation of that enrollment from the sibling’s school. If documentation is not provided, the financial aid award may be adjusted.

Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense

Veterans, spouses and dependents of veterans may be eligible for education benefits through numerous GI Bill programs. Contact the VA directly at 1-888-442-4551 or visit the GI Bill site to determine if you are eligible for a benefit. The GI Bill Comparison Tool will provide information about college affordability and brings together information from more than 17 different online sources and three federal agencies, including the number of students receiving VA education benefits at each school. Grinnell participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program of the Post-9/11 GI Bill and encourages veterans and their families to explore the resources on our website detailing institutional, state, federal and veteran financial aid programs for which you may be eligible. Visit the Types of Aid web page for more details.

Work-Study/Campus Employment Programs

There are a variety of work-study (federal and institutional) positions available on and off campus. It is the responsibility of the student to find a suitable employment opportunity that fits their needs, areas of interest and academic schedule. Resources, including job postings via Handshake, and the Student Employment Office are available to assist students in their search. Once an employer is secured, students must complete a work-study authorization form, I-9 form, W-4 form, and a direct deposit authorization before working.

The amount awarded is not a guarantee of employment. Students applying late in the hiring season may not find a suitable position to take advantage of the work-study program.

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