General Policies

Financial aid is normally distributed in equal installments each term. Exceptions are campus work, paid every two weeks to the student, and non-Carleton scholarships, which are shown as anticipated on the billing statement, but are credited upon receipt of funds.

It is assumed that a family’s financial situation will be similar to prior years and that will be reflected on the FAFSA and CSS Profile. Significant changes should be reported to Student Financial Aid as soon as they occur. This includes any scholarship/awards from sources outside the college and increases of $1,000 or more in income or assets.

The college will not authorize financial aid in addition to an outside award if the total amount of the outside aid equals or exceeds the student’s demonstrated need. We will assume that all outside aid will be sent directly to the college to be credited to your account. If this is not the case, please let us know.

Minnesota State Grant Recipients

Minnesota State Grant recipients should be aware that the definition of a full-time student for the grant program is 15 credits per term. Students receiving Minnesota State Grants are expected to register for at least 15 credits.

Student Contribution

In addition to a student’s on-campus earnings from student employment, returning students are expected to contribute a minimum of $2,100 per year from break earnings.

Loan Fees

Students and parents/guardians should be aware that the proceeds of any Federal Direct or Federal Direct PLUS loans received by the College will reflect the offered amount less the Origination and Guarantee fees. The Department of Education will automatically withhold these fees from your loan proceeds. These fees represent a portion of the approved loan amount and are listed on the loan comparison chart for each loan program. Note that only loan proceeds received will be credited to your account.

Off-Campus Study

Students planning to participate in an off-campus program are urged to review with their parents the costs of these programs. Information is available concerning each program in the Office of Off-Campus Studies. Students are responsible for deposits associated with non-Carleton programs. With the exception of Carleton seminars, financial aid is not available for summer off-campus programs.

A more thorough discussion of off-campus study programs is available at the Off Campus Studies site. In addition, students may want to visit the Financial Aid for Off-Campus Studies page.

Accepting Your Financial Aid Offer

Students accept their initial financial aid offer and any subsequent revisions online. Students will be notified of the need to accept an offer or revision by email and will access the aid offer through the Hub. The financial aid offer letter should be submitted electronically to Student Financial Aid within the time period noted on the offer letter.

Federal Direct Loans: If you were offered a Federal Direct loan and want to receive it, you must submit your offer letter on the Hub before the loan can be processed.

If you are a returning student who has received Federal Direct loans in previous years, the submitted offer letter on the Hub will begin the loan processing.

Students who are first-time Federal Direct loan borrowers must do the following for the loan to be processed:

  • They must submit the offer letter on the Net Partner Financial Aid Portal.
  • Complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN) online. The MPN is a legal document in which you promise to repay your loan(s) and any accrued interest and fees to the U.S. Department of Education. It also explains the terms and conditions of your loan(s). You may receive more than one loan under an MPN over a period of up to 10 years.
  • A paper Master Promissory Note can be printed from online and mailed overnight, express, or certified mail to: Department of Education, 201 Technacenter Drive, Montgomery, AL 36117.
  • Complete entrance counseling.

If the above items are not completed in a timely manner, this will delay your loan disbursements and could result in you owing a balance to Carleton. 

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Students must maintain satisfactory academic progress in order to receive financial aid funds. Satisfactory academic progress consists of maintaining a grade point average and earning credits at the following minimal levels:

Terms CompletedNormalMInimalMinimum GPA

Students must earn at least 210 credits with a minimum GPA of 2.0 in order to graduate. The College expresses its interest and concern before students reach the point where dismissal is imminent through the review of student academic records conducted by the Academic Standing Committee at the end of each term. Students are assumed to be making satisfactory academic progress as long as they are permitted to enroll in the college. Details regarding college academic policies may be found in the Academic Regulations and Procedures Handbook.

Determination of Financial Aid for Subsequent Years

Students will continue to receive financial aid as long as satisfactory academic progress toward a degree is made and demonstrated financial need continues. Normally, financial assistance is not extended beyond 12 terms.

In order to renew financial aid, families must file the appropriate financial aid forms. This would include the CSS Profile, and the FAFSA. In addition, both students and parents must submit signed copies of the previous year’s IRS tax returns, including all schedules, or an Affidavit of Non-Tax Filing Status.

The financial aid of students who marry while at Carleton will continue to be based on parental financial resources.

Return of Title IV Federal Student Aid

A student recipient of Federal Title IV funds (i.e., Federal Pell, SEOG or TEACH grants or Direct Stafford or PLUS loans) who withdraws or takes a leave of absence from the school before completing 60% of the term is subject to the Return of Title IV Calculation to determine the percentage of Title IV funds required to be returned to the federal government. The Return of Title IV calculation is a federally mandated formula to determine how much federal funding was “earned” up to the time of withdrawal.

The Title IV funds that were disbursed in excess of the earned amount must be returned to the federal government by the school and/or the student. If you received a refund/credit balance from financial aid, which was to be used for education-related personal expenses or housing expenses, you may be required to return a portion of those funds to the school. This portion represents funds that were intended to pay your education-related expenses through the end of the term. The amount to be returned to the school will be determined by your institutional costs, refunds you might have received for non-school expenses and the funds that must be returned to the government.

If a student has an existing Title IV credit balance, the 14-day payment requirement is put on hold while Carleton College determines the final amount of the Title IV credit balance with consideration of the R2T4 calculation.

The amount to be returned to the federal government will be calculated from the date you officially withdrew from classes or, in the case of an unofficial withdrawal, the last date you were involved in an academically related activity. An official withdrawal occurs when a student follows the published process for withdrawing from the school prior to the end of the term.

To determine the amount of financial aid you earned up to the time of withdrawal, Carleton College Student Financial Aid (SFA Office) will determine the percentage of the term you attended. The percentage used to determine the return of federal student aid funds is equal to the number of calendar days remaining in the term divided by the number of calendar days in the term. Scheduled breaks of more than five consecutive days are excluded. The resulting percentage is then used along with your school costs and total federal funds that you received (funds that were disbursed directly to your school student account and possibly refunded to you) or that you were eligible to receive, to determine the amount of aid that you are allowed to keep.

Any unearned Title IV aid must be returned to the federal government within 45 days of the date of the determination of your withdrawal. Carleton College Student Financial Aid Office will notify you with instructions on how to proceed if you are required to return funds to the government. Any funds returned after the Return of Title IV Aid calculation is completed and processed are then used to repay Carleton College funds, state funds, other private sources, and the student, in proportion to the amount received from each non-federal source, as long as there was no unpaid balance at the time of withdrawal. All financial aid sources are repaid accordingly before any funds are returned to the student.

Funds that are returned to the federal government are used to reduce the outstanding balances in individual federal programs. Financial aid returned by you and/or your parent or the school must be allocated in the following order:

  • Federal Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan
  • Federal Subsidized Direct Stafford Loan
  • Federal Direct Parent Loan (PLUS)
  • Federal Direct Grad Plus
  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  • Federal Teach Grant

A student may be eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement if, prior to withdrawing, the student earned more federal financial aid than was disbursed. If a student is eligible for a post-withdrawal disbursement for Title IV funds, it will be processed for the student and a refund will be issued within 14 days of the credit balance. 

If the post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, Carleton College must get the student’s permission before it can disburse the loan. Students may choose to decline some or all of the loan funds so that they do not incur additional debt. A notice will be sent out to the student, and the signed, original document must be returned to the School within 14 days. Carleton College may, at their discretion, still disburse if the signed document is returned after 14 days.

Carleton College may automatically use all or a portion of the post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition and fees. However, the school needs the student’s permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other school charges. If the student does not give his/her permission, the student will be offered the funds. However, it may be in the student’s best interest to allow the school to keep the funds to reduce the student’s debt at the school.  

It is also important to understand that accepting a post-withdrawal disbursement of student loan funds will increase a student’s overall student loan debt that must be repaid under the terms of the Master Promissory Note. Additionally, accepting the disbursement of grant funds will reduce the remaining amount of grant funds available to the student should the student continue his/her education at a later time.

Official Withdrawal Policy

Students must contact the Dean of Student Office to withdraw or take a leave of absence.

For tuition refunds and financial aid refunds, the date of withdrawing is the date the student notifies the Dean of Student Office they are withdrawing or requesting a leave. 

Unofficial Withdrawal Policy

In the event a student leaves campus without notifying the institution, all efforts are taken to reestablish contact. In the unlikely event contact is not re-established, the institution will consider it an unofficial withdrawal. The last date of academic activity will be used as the effect date of the withdrawal.

If you have any questions about refund calculations, please contact Student Financial Services Office at 507-222-4138 or