How do I apply for financial aid?

Discover instructions for applying for financial aid for both new students, returning students, international students, DACA and undocumented students, and veterans.

Why does Carleton require the College Board CSS Profile?

We believe the College Board CSS Profile produces a more refined and accurate assessment of a family’s need and their requirement for funding from Carleton.

How can I find out if my financial aid application is complete

Prospective applicants should contact the Office of Student Financial Services. Returning students should check the Hub.

How do I create a FSA ID so I can complete the FAFSA?

Watch the tutorial that explains the process to create a FSA ID.

What do I do if I forgot my username and/or password to my FSA ID?

This tutorial will help you reset your password.

This tutorial will help you recover your username.

Do I have to apply for financial aid every year?

Yes, if you receive assistance beyond National Merit or Campus Employment you need to file for financial aid each year. You can find instructions on how to reapply for financial aid for the upcoming academic year.

Will my financial aid package change after my first year?

In most cases, we will attempt to keep aid awards as constant as possible in subsequent years. However, as significant changes in a family’s finances occur (both positive and negative) an aid award may also change to reflect those circumstances. Students can also expect their loan amounts to increase in subsequent years along with our cost increase. In most cases, student loans will increase by about $1,000 in each subsequent year. Last year’s graduating class had an average 4-year cumulative loan debt of $17,065.

What happens if my parent/guardian’s financial situation changes in the middle of the year?

If there is a significant change in your family’s financial situation, you may submit a request for a review of your new financial situation. The request must be in writing and should explain what changes have occurred. The request should contain specific changes (dollar amounts, dates, etc.) along with documentation to verify the request.

My family has a 529 plan. How is that reported on the financial aid applications?

If a 529 plan is owned by a dependent student or the student’s parent (custodial parent if the parents are divorced/separated), it is reported as a parent asset on the financial aid applications. If the 529 plan is owned by anybody else, such as a grandparent, aunt, uncle or non-custodial parent, it is not reported as an asset on the financial aid applications.

If I do not qualify for need-based aid, what other aid is available?

Even if you do not qualify for need-based aid the following may be available to help with financing Carleton: Student employment, Direct Stafford Unsubsidized Loan, Direct Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS Loans), and various alternative loans. You can also find more information regarding alternative loan options and explore outside scholarship opportunities.

I am going to study off-campus through a non-Carleton program. The program’s fees are less than a term at Carleton. Will my need-based financial aid be adjusted?

Yes. Carleton students can take their need-based financial aid on ONE approved non-Carleton program. If that program’s fees are less than a term at Carleton, your need-based aid will be adjusted. Get full details on financial aid for off-campus studies.

I am going to study off-campus for a term and student employment is part of my financial aid package for that term. Can I request additional funding to replace the work component of my financial aid?

You have some options:

  • During terms in which you are enrolled on campus, you may work up to 15 hours per week to make up lost work earnings. You should check with us to determine your eligibility.
  • Request a loan to replace the student employment award for the term you are off-campus.

Get full details on financial aid for off-campus studies.

Why do I have to send copies of my tax returns for Carleton to IDOC and still use the IRS Data Retrieval for my FAFSA?

This is required because you actually have two separate applications for financial aid. First, to apply and qualify for institutional grant aid from Carleton you need to complete the College Board CSS Profile. To ensure accurate data is submitted for the CSS Profile, we require copies of your (and parents’) tax returns.

Secondly, to apply and qualify for federal student aid, we require the FAFSA at Carleton since most of our students will qualify for some federal assistance. The FAFSA encourages students to use the IRS Data Retrieval process which allows data to be drawn directly from IRS records and ensures accuracy. Unfortunately, the verification of tax data is captured differently requiring applicants to use different formats to report the same information.

What is Verification?

The U.S. Department of Education may select your FAFSA for a more in-depth review of the information you provided, which is called “Verification.” More information about this process can be found on our dedicated verification webpage.

What is Satisfactory Academic Progress?

Normally a student is expected to fulfill all graduation requirements in four years or the equivalent of 12 academic terms. All students are subject to academic review and thus are assumed to be making satisfactory progress at a normal rate of progress which is considered to be 17 or 18 credits per term. Learn more information about satisfactory academic progress.

Does the Northfield Option affect my financial aid award?

No. The Northfield Option will not change the amount of financial assistance you receive, since there are expenses when living off-campus.

Can I be considered independent even if I don’t meet the federal definition?

There are times when a dependent student may request to be considered independent. In these cases, students need to reach out directly to the Student Financial Services Office at Carleton. Financial aid counselors can discuss whether or not a student may qualify for a “dependency override” which would treat a student as independent and exclude parental information from aid consideration. More specific information about this process can be found in this dependency Override document.