Comprehensive Fees for the 2024–25 Academic Year

December 01, 2023

Dear Faculty, Staff, Students, and Families,

The Board of Trustees and College leadership have completed the annual assessment of comprehensive fees in preparation for the 2024–25 Academic Year. I write today to share information about the College’s fees and financial aid priorities, and to provide specifics about the upcoming cost of attendance.

Grinnell College is committed to ensuring access to a world-class education, removing financial barriers by providing financial aid to students with financial need. The College’s commitment to access is guided by these principles:

  • Meeting 100% of demonstrated financial need.
  • Eliminating student loans as part of need-based financial aid packages and replacing them with grants.
  • Leading the nation in the share of the College’s operating budget dedicated to grant aid, when compared to other U.S. colleges and universities that offer need-blind admissions and meet all demonstrated financial need.

What these commitments mean for our students and families:

  • Over 93% of Grinnellians receive grant and scholarship assistance. Of those, 67% receive need-based financial aid with the average package totaling $65,441.
  • The average cost of educating each student (calculated as the total operating budget divided by the number of students) remains more than $12,500 higher than our established comprehensive fee; every student receives a significant discount when compared to the actual cost of their education.
  • More than 96% of the overall financial aid offered to students is comprised of scholarships and grants. 94% of this assistance is funded directly by Grinnell.
  • More than $79.7 million is awarded annually through the financial aid program.

Comprehensive Fee

After careful review, the Board has approved an overall increase to comprehensive fees of between 5.2% and 6.2% for the 2024–2025 academic year. This range reflects a higher rate for theme houses and apartment-style housing. In the College’s sustained commitment to access, comprehensive fee increases are coupled with increases in financial aid. All housing types are available to all students, as financial aid will be adjusted to assist with any room differential for students with need-based financial aid.

The following table shows the various components of the comprehensive fee.

Academic Year 2024-25


Basic Room

Apartment Style Room




Student activity fee



Total tuition and fees




$ 7,876

$ 8,664


$ 8,966

$ 8,966

Total housing and food






2024–25 Meal Plans

The comprehensive fee includes the cost of a new, unlimited meal plan, which will be one of three plans available to students in the 2024–25 academic year. The cost of this plan represents a 7% increase when compared to the 2023–24 academic year.

In establishing these meal plan options, the College considered feedback from the community, as well as issues of health, wellness, nutrition, and food insecurity. The new meal plan structure is designed to provide simpler, clearer, and more flexible options while also enabling diverse offerings and the role that campus dining plays in providing a social space, sense of community, and belonging. The cost of each meal plan reflects part of the increase in food costs in the marketplace, where the College purchases staples and ingredients.

The following table shows the options for the 2024–25 Academic Year:

Plan 1

Plan 2

Plan 3

  • Unlimited Meals
  • $200 dining dollars/year ($100/semester)
  • Five replacement meals/week at The Spencer Grill when Marketplace is closed
  • Five guest meals/semester (Ten/year)
  • 14 meals/week
  • $400 dining dollars/year ($200/semester)
  • Five replacement meals/week at The Spencer Grill when Marketplace is closed
  • Five guest meals/semester (Ten/year)
  • 100 meals/semester (200/year)
  • $200 dining dollars/year ($100/semester)
  • Five replacement meals/week at The Spencer Grill when Marketplace is closed
  • Five guest meals/semester (Ten/year)

Required for all first-year resident students and available to all students.

Available to upper-level resident and non-resident students.

Upper level students living in residence halls must choose between Plan 1 and 2.

Not available to on campus students.

Mandatory for all theme house, language house and off-campus students in non-college housing if not choosing Plan 1 or 2.




Grinnell’s fees historically have been below those of other leading liberal arts colleges, and with the pending increase, are anticipated to remain lower than fees assessed by our peers.

Our collaborative funding model is a testament to our shared belief in the value of excellence in education and the opportunities our students receive to achieve their goals for careers, life, and service to the common good. We are grateful for the College’s ability to provide access to a Grinnell education and for those alumni and friends whose generous financial contributions support scholarships and financial aid. We value each student’s presence in and contributions to this remarkable academic community.

If you have specific questions, please email


Germaine Gross
Vice President for Finance and Treasurer

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