Frequently Asked Questions About Student Aid

*New - Billing Questions

When will my financial aid move from Anticipated to Disbursed?

Most financial aid will appear as Anticipated on your bill until the beginning of the term. Anticipated financial aid is deducted from the total amount due, but has not yet been disbursed to your student account.

What do the comments Pending and Estimated mean in the Financial Aid section of the online billing statement?

Pending financial aid needs no further action on your part. It will disburse to your student account after classes begin for the term.

Estimated financial aid requires further action before the award can be disbursed to your student account. Visit the online financial aid office to determine what is required to complete your financial aid.  The most common reasons for estimated aid are:

  • You have not accepted your student loan.
  • You have not completed loan document requirements.
  • You have other (non-loan) required documents that have not been submitted.

Why is the Awarded Amount of my student loan on the billing statement lower than the amount listed in the online financial aid office?

Federal and private loans charge a loan origination fee. The amount shown on the billing statement is the amount borrowed minus the associated fee. The amount in the online financial aid office is the total amount you are borrowing and the amount that must be repaid.

Will the financial aid office provide assistance to cover the cost of student health insurance if my request to waive it is denied?

If you currently have health coverage through your state's Medicaid program, we recommend contacting SHACS for assistance in applying for Iowa Medicaid.

If you require financial aid to cover the cost of the student health insurance schedule a time to meet with a financial aid counselor by emailing finaid@grinnell.edu or calling (641) 269-3250. Additional student loan is typically the source for funding health insurance.

Why is my work-study award not listed with the rest of my financial aid on the bill?

Although the work-study award does not appear as a credit against the charges, you are allowed to begin the semester still owing the work-study award amount for the term (i.e. $1,100). You must then make regular payments throughout the term so your balance is paid in full by the end of the semester.

Students choose whether to credit their earnings to their student account, to have them direct deposited to a bank account, or a combination of the two. Additional information will be available on these options during New Student Orientation or you may visit the Cashier's Office when you arrive on campus.

Where can I find more information related to charges and payments on my billing statement?

Visit the Cashier web page, email Cashier@grinnell.edu, or call (641) 269-4100.

For New Students and Families

Can I appeal the amount of my merit scholarship or apply for more next year?

The amount of merit scholarships cannot be appealed and will remain at the same amount for a total of eight semesters provided a 2.75 cumulative GPA is maintained. Additional merit aid is not awarded for performance while enrolled at Grinnell.

Will Grinnell match my larger financial aid offer from another school?

When a school awards its own funds, it determines the guidelines for determining need and awarding institutional aid. Grinnell's goal is to award sufficient financial aid to make a Grinnell education attainable. We understand that we may not be the lowest cost option. However, we will not increase a student's financial aid to match another school's award. If you believe the Financial Aid Office may have misinterpreted information on the aid application, we would be happy to discuss what data was used to calculate eligibility and consider adjustments if errors were made or circumstances change.

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, when possible. Income changes taking effect later in the fall semester through the spring semester typically do not impact eligibility until the following academic year. Contact the Office of Student Financial Aid for a Reconsideration Request Form. (If your family's income goes up unexpectedly, your aid package will be adjusted accordingly the following academic year.)

Will my need-based financial aid change in subsequent years?

Grant awards remain consistent from year to year unless a substantial change has occurred with your family's financial circumstances. Changes in undergraduate enrollment of siblings and changes in family income may alter eligibility in subsequent years.

Modest annual increases in grant aid and student loans are made to assist families with increases in cost of attendance.

Does Grinnell participate in the Veteran's Administration Yellow Ribbon Program? 

Yes, if you have questions, please contact: Grinnell College Office of Financial Aid Grinnell, Iowa 50112-1690 Phone (641) 269-3250

For International Students

Grinnell College employs a need-aware international admission policy and is committed to meeting 100% of an eligible, admitted student’s institutionally-determined financial need through a combination of grants, campus employment, and institutional loan. The college requires a clear and honest submission of family financial resources to determine an applicant’s aid eligibility. 

How do I request a waiver for the CSS PROFILE fee?

We do not provide fee waivers. You should complete the ISFAA, which does not require a fee, and submit it directly to the Office of Admission.

Will my financial aid package change in the future if my family circumstances change or if exchange rates worsen?

No. Your financial aid eligibility is not re-evaluated each year and requests for additional assistance are not accepted.

If I do not apply for financial aid my first year, can I request it in future years?

No. Grinnell does not consider applications for financial aid from international students after they have begun their studies at the college. As part of the application for admission, all applicants needing financial assistance are required to complete the CSS PROFILE or ISFAA thoroughly and accurately.

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 provided you have maintained a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or greater.

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 Office of Financial Aid 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 submitting required application materials by January 5, 2018, should receive the award notification by March 1, 2018. Students submitting required application materials by April 2, 2018, should receive the award notification by June 1, 2018.

How is my eligibility for aid affected if I live off campus?

Living off campus does not impact your financial aid eligibility. Since you will still have living expenses, such as rent, utilities, and food, we use the same estimated cost of attendance when calculating your award as we do for students living on campus.

One exception to this is if you live with your parents. Your cost of attendance will be reduced because your living expenses will be much less. This likely will cause a reduction in your financial aid.