Congrats, you’ve received your award packet! Here are some answers to common questions.

Financial Aid Packages & Interpreting the Award Letter

If you apply for financial aid, you’ll receive an award package. We will review your application to determine whether you qualify for need-based aid.

If you qualify for need-based aid:

Your package will typically consist of a grant/scholarship, a student loan (limited to $4,500 your first year, increases slightly year-to-year), and student employment (limited to 8 hours your first year, 10 hours after that).

If you don’t qualify for for need-based aid:

You can still request a student employment position and a non-need based student loan such as a Unsubsidized Direct Student Loan.

Things to Note: Grants/Scholarships

  • Usually the biggest portion of an award package
  • “Gift aid,” meaning no repayment necessary
  • Can consist of Pell grants, SEOG (Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant), or Minnesota State grants if the student qualifies for this type of aid. 
  • In addition, most need-based packages contain either a Carleton grant or one of many different Carleton scholarships. Students do not apply specifically for these scholarships; rather, they are awarded based on information they provide on their financial aid applications. Similar to grants, most of these scholarships are used to meet the need of students. 

When will I receive my financial aid award?

New students: Your preliminary financial aid package will be sent with your admit packet. Once we receive your deposit, you’ll be notified by email that your final award package is available and can be accepted on the Hub.

Preliminary vs. Final Award 

For the majority of applicants, your initial and final awards will be the same. If something changes from the time you completed your FAFSA and CSS Profile, some things could shift. A note for those who apply via early decision: Our tuition for the upcoming year usually isn’t finalized until February, so your final award will shift to reflect any changes to the upcoming academic year comprehensive fee.

Outside scholarships may affect total aid

The most common reason for a change in aid award is when a student receives a scholarship from an outside source. The outside aid will first reduce the student loan portion of the award, then student employment. If your outside aid exceeds the amount of those two categories, your grant aid may be reduced to stay within federal guidelines and a student’s established need.

How much will I owe?

The amount credited to your account is calculated by taking the total financial aid minus student employment, since student employment is not automatically applied to the student account like the other forms of aid. Review your estimated carefully, as it is often misinterpreted.

If the student decides to credit some or all of their work earnings towards their account, the estimated balance will be lower. Many students do apply some or all of their work earnings towards their bill. The amount you chose to apply to your tuition account is done by completing the “Student Payroll Tuition Payment Authorization” form on the Hub (not through your aid award).